Dr. Quigley Belonged To A Tribe
Dr. Quigley began to take his coffee
black, right about the time a clover
appeared on his chest.
At first he thought it was a type of stigmata.
He belonged to a tribe that did not yet exist,
and this gave him enormous satisfaction.
At night he dreamt deeply, his extended family
vacationing on cruise ships along the west coast
of California, probably Venice Beach,
and in the dream this made him happy.
The streets of the city were flooded,
and there were storms moving in the distance.
He could hear the echoes of paddles
along the shore, and the cries of seagulls.
Alone, he gazed at water flowing
beneath the stars, darkness
huddled silently in distant redwoods.
He was saddened by the last sighs of autumn
and the departures of loved ones.
He noted a direct correlation exists
between mental stability
and appreciation for the beauty of women.
For this reason, he kept a harmonica
in his pocket at all times,
and he smiled faintly while driving.
It was time to begin the work
for which he would someday be made famous,
and he wanted to have something on hand
in case they came for him,
the mist slowing his thoughts down
to the trickle of a prayer:
The next time I see the kind of light
that resembles the arc of the soul,
I will be ready–
for I am nothing without you.
Make me the water that flows
from the hands and lips
of distant hills.
Make me the shadow that moves
close to the river and weeps.
Make me hear your words
in the whisper of waves.
Make me silence,
even if it steals something deep,
something true and beautiful
from the well of my being.
Let me stay here,
let me hear one note
from the one whom I love.
In the morning it was the same:
a shot of whiskey–
no answers from the grave.